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National Grid & EverSource provide DTA with street lists to help verify Nor'Easter 10/26-27 outages for SNAP replacement benefits

This is a special eblast to give you an update on SNAP households impacted by 10/26 and 10/27 Nor-easter and SNAP replacement benefits. DTA now has street lists from National Grid and EverSource Lists by municipality that will be used to confirm/verify the household's outage.

Yesterday, Nov 16th was the deadline for households to request SNAP replacement benefits due to the October Nor’easter (DTA got USDA approval to extend the deadline to 11/16). However, thanks to the advocacy of The Open Door in Gloucester, we learned that many SNAP households have not received their replacement benefits due to difficulties proving the outage.  DTA’s policy is to waive verifications for households that live in cities or towns where over 50% of the residences lost power (as determined by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)). Gloucester is one of the many municipalities that suffered power outages but not on that list.

Getting proof of loss of power can be an uphill battle, especially if the SNAP household is not the primary utility customer (often due to bad debt or living in doubled up situations), has an absentee landlord or where the household is unable to get documentation from the utility company.  

Yesterday with the help of our amazing partners at the National Consumer Law Center, we asked National Grid and EverSource for street level lists of all the MA municipalities that lost power for 4+ hours. Here is a Google Drive with BOTH National Grid and EverSource lists, as well as the DTA Guidance on the towns with 50% or more outages.  And special thanks to our AmeriCorps member Lilydahn Stewart for uploading and coding the municipalities not on the MEMA list. 

DTA has agreed to use these EverSource and National Grid lists as verification of the power outages for SNAP households that requested replacement SNAP . Please share this information broadly. If you have a household that lost power, requested replacement SNAP by 11/16, and has NOT received the benefits, please contact Pat Baker or Lilydhan Stewart at MLRI. PBaker@mlri.org  LStewart@MLRI.org  

Municipal power companies: If you are working with households in a municipality that is not served by National Grid or EverSource,  such as Ipswich, Danvers, North Reading etc, you may need to get the local company to produce a similar list.  See map of utility company coverage areas in MA. Please let MLRI if you are in this situation.

Reminder: Households can claim replacement SNAP for food lost or tossed that was purchased with SNAP benefits - up to the total of one month of SNAP - including their SNAP Emergency Allotment. 

Giving thanks:  HUGE THANK YOUs to:

·         The Open Door of Gloucester for fighting every inch of the way for their clients!

·         National Grid and EverSource for rapidly generating the street lists to facilitate the verification of outage lost

·         The National Consumer Law Center for working with MLRI to thread the needle here.

·         DTA for accepting these lists and the front line staff processing the many SNAP replacement request.